Online rehab as effective as face-to-face care for COPD

Patients may be a bit reluctant to accept remote care—especially for a condition as serious as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But a recent study found online rehabilitation for the condition was as effective as face-to-face programs.

The study, presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference in Washington, D.C., featured 90 individuals with COPD. Split into two groups—one receiving face-to-face care, the other online rehabilitation.

After six weeks, the online group, who used the MyPR app from home computers, scored higher on the COPD Assessment Test in all domain. Additionally, the two groups performed significantly similar in a six-minute walking distance test.

"For many patients, attending in-person classes isn't easy and we know that attendance rates are variable," said lead author Tom Wilkinson, MA, PhD,of the Southampton University Faculty of Medicine at Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom. "This study challenges the paradigm that pulmonary rehabilitation needs to be delivered using a conventional face-to-face class-based approach."

Researchers urged further study how online rehabilitation can be delivered to patients.